Running the vMX on VMWare Fusion

Having hardware to test configuration changes, new deployments, or troubleshooting an issue is very useful, and it is often the best way to replicate how an idea will work in a real environment. That being said with the introduction of virtual platforms we now have an acceptable alternative to real hardware in many cases. There are sometimes instances where having access to a dedicated virtual lab is not possible nor practical. Being able to run virtual platforms on your local system is very useful for such cases.

While MacOS has the ability to run KVM-based appliances, sometimes it is just easier to use VMWare Fusion. With a little preparation anyone can run the Juniper’s Virtual MX (vMX) platform on VMWare Fusion. So without further ado, this guide will help you run the vMX on VMWare Fusion.


…And We’re Back!

After an insanely long hiatus it is finally time to bring this blog online, and start venturing into technology again. In addition to the pure technology posts, there may be some additional subjects that will be explored as well. Some very clearly-labeled opinion pieces will be added based on the author’s experiences. One or two technical posts will be coming up in the next few days.


Through, Around or Over

It’s been a while since I have posted in this blog, and to be honest this has been the strangest year of my life so far. While being mute on this blog isn’t helping my situation at all it feels like that this was the most appropriate thing to do. So while there are many cool things I want to talk about in the upcoming months I feel that it is appropriate to talk about non-technical things first.

For those of you that do not know I left my previous employer in March of 2015, and joined a company called Nexum which is based out of Chicago, Illinois. To add to the madness I have relocated to Cambridge, MA for a myriad of reasons. At both Nexum and Cambridge I have been exposed to a completely different world of technologies and opportunities that were not available to me at my previous job.

In 2015 I have become certified in F5, VMWare, Arbor Networks, and recently became a Pulse Secure Instructor as well. It has been an extremely liberating feeling to begin from square one and learn new concepts and ideas. Which brings me to my next update – more posts on this blog will be focusing on technologies that may not be Juniper-based. Most (if not all) the previous posts were based on stories in the field, and names/addresses were changed to protect the innocent. My current role has me focusing on topics that are not necessarily working on any CLI or any hardware, but this a lesson that needs to be learned anyways.

More things are coming in the next couple of months – primarily focusing on SDN and OpenStack – but it seemed like this was the best way to get that ball rolling. Switching jobs, locations, and technologies has had a significant impact in the past year, but it has allowed me to have the opportunity to find a way through, around, or over some of the obstacles that have held me back for too many years.

Good luck to you all in 2016 – and if there are things you want to see in here let me know!

Juniper Secure Access: Testing Web Rewrite via Proxy SA

I recently learned a new trick from JTAC to test rewriting issues through Content Intermediation Engine without affecting production traffic. This can be used to test new code releases, or change parameters (ACL, rewriting filters, cross-domain access, etc.) on a lab SA and still be able to provide full access to TAC for additional troubleshooting.

The basic idea is to set up a JSAM role on the production SA, and connect via a proxying server (I have had good luck with the program CCProxy – it’s free for up to three users). From there, point a test SA (the Demonstration and Training Edition SA is perfect for this!) to the proxying server via a web bookmark. Lastly, use a client PC to connect to the lab SA to perform your tests. A diagram of the layout is shown below:

sa proxy

So let’s begin!

On the Production SA, create a JSAM access resource that points to the web resource:


Connect to the customer’s SA and load JSAM, and take note of the localhost address being used (in the session manager window, click on Details to see the address):


From here, configure CCProxy to send traffic to that address (in this case, it’s by clicking on the Configuration Button:


In your test SA, create a resource to point to your proxy server instead of the main server:


From there, log in as a user on the Test SA, and try and access the resource:


Success! You can confirm the connection in the logs in CCProxy by clicking the Monitor button:


Feel free to make adjustments in the test SA to try out new resource policies, code versions or even set up a passthrough proxy. Hope this tip helps someone!

Junos Security is dead! Long live Junos Security!

I was hoping that title would catch your attention.

First and foremost this is a technical blog to discuss neat tricks and tips that I use daily, but sometime it’s a good idea to jump off the path and take a look at what is going on in the tech world. It is high time we start looking past traditional security firewalls or Next-Generation Firewalls and see where the path takes us.

For starters, I was recently at the Juniper Ambassador’s Conference and got to speak with the brilliant minds at Juniper Networks. I am quite sure everyone has heard about the significant changes that has been occurring at Juniper, and like many of you I had my concerns/reservations. While it is important to note is that there are still plenty of opportunities to improve the realm of Junos security in the short term I am excited for what is to come.

I feel that there is always going to be a need for traditional hardware firewalls in the network. Certain features make it extremely tough to remove hardware appliances completely; in particular I am talking about the edge firewalls that handle massive amounts of IPSEC tunnels or NATing public/private IP’s. In the future it would not be a long shot to put security functions in other parts of the network. As an example by moving firewall functions to the hypervisor then we can reduce the need of massive firewalls at the head end.

Let’s look at this idea for a moment. Consider the following traditional network:

traditional network

Typically you would have your network segments trunked to an interface on a firewall, or a unique interface per vlan directly connected to the firewall. This works great until you run out of interfaces, bandwidth, or processing power of the firewall – especially for that pesky intra-zone traffic!

Now consider adding security features to the hypervisor, such as a virtual firewall that connects its external interface to a flat vlan, and its internal interface to a specific vlan on the virtual switch. A diagram of such an idea is shown below:

new network

By offloading basic firewall or even IPS features to the hypervisor (which has far more compute power than that of a single hardware firewall) we can now free up the firewall to do more important tasks, and increase our scalability significantly! Combining this solution with some of the cool tools like Firefly Packer to help with automating these deployments you can have a significantly faster turnaround time for the needs of your network. This type of design also helps with reducing the failure domain of the network – if an issue crops up one of the hypervisor firewalls it only affects one group of devices, instead of causing an entire network outage. Smaller failure domains = higher overall stability.

Now certainly there are still a bunch of unanswered questions about designs like these, but this is the start of a significant change in how we all can view security and its application to the network. Sometimes it helps to take a step back from what features are missing in a device, and instead look at the opportunities that exist today and in the future.